Books Do Not Have Wings



Author Brynne Barnes’ new picture book may be titled Books Do Not Have Wings, but it seems to do everything in its power (and does a great job, at that) to prove that they most definitely do have wings.

In the book, a nameless narrator explains that books as we know them are merely words on a page, a few illustrations, and nothing more. They are inanimate objects that don’t move from their spot; they “don’t have engines or trampoline springs… but this, for certain, has all those things.” Thus is presented the first logical argument that this book must be more than just a book.

The narrator further explains that this book that is not just a book “is some fine work of art, a puzzle assembled for taking apart.” Also, without physically moving a step, the narrator demonstrates how this book works a kind of magic so that “where you end up is not where you start”—meaning that a book can take you to wonderful places simply by opening to the first page and flipping to the end.

A page from the book where a witch stirs a cauldron of lizard stew.
A page from the book where a witch stirs a cauldron of lizard stew.

Ms. Barnes writes in clever, smile-inducing rhyme and raises gentle observations that are sure to get children thinking about the magic that a good book can work. Ms. Barnes explains how books cannot simply be only pages and words, because pages and words can’t move…and yet they allow children to travel to faraway locations and ride impossible contraptions and never fear falling off. They allow children to cross that fine, invisible line between reality and fantasy in order to talk to fairies or witches stirring up “a bubbling brew of lizard stew;” and children can even go down rabbit holes, chat with long-bearded trolls, or oink right along with the three little pigs if they wish to do so.

In other words, books are MORE than just books because they tear down invisible barriers and allow imaginative minds to experience “reality” on a completely new level.

Artist Rogerio Coelho’s mystical, magical, meticulously-detailed illustrations are perfect for this manuscript. They capture flying gadgets, sprawling wha-cha-ma-doodles, and clinking, clanking aerial contraptions big enough for a human to straddle and ride bare-backed through the sky with dream-like precision.

Use this book as an introduction to the beauty and power and fun of reading books. Use it as supplemental reading, or even as inspiration during an art or free-time session in your classroom.


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